Leicester miss out on a precious win at Goodison

Everton 2:2 Leicester City

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A late equaliser for Everton denied City two vital points at Goodison on Sunday afternoon…

Nigel Pearson made one change with Huth back in for Wasilewski – the same line-up as at Arsenal.
Although Schlupp forced an early save from Howard and Besic tested Schwarzer with a long-range effort it was a cagey an fairly uneventful opening half hour.
Having been set up nicely by Coleman, Lukaku then skied his shot well over; while Kramarić, always willing to have a crack, sent a curling shot just over Howard’s bar.
Lukaku then saw his shot blocked by Morgan and Barkley seized on the loose ball but fired way off target.
The last chance of the half fell to City but Schlupp became the latest player to give their shot too much altitude.

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City started the second half brightly, with Howard saving from James and Mahrez going close from a corner, and Roberto Martinez made a double substitution.
A minute later, the Toffees took the lead. Naismith deceiving Schwarzer with an oddly struck shot that found its way through a crowded penalty area.
It was now Pearson’s turn to make a double change for City, with Nugent and Vardy coming on for Schlupp and Mahrez, and the effect was the same – an immediate goal. Vardy went charging down the right and sent over a low cross. Howard got in a tangle with a defender at the near post and the ball was presented to Nugent for a tap-in from three yards.
Lukaku let City off the hook with another off-target effort from a good position, and the visitors then took the lead with 20 minutes remaining.
After a Simpson cross was diverted to Vardy he set up Cambiasso for a neat finish that had the away section celebrating wildly.

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A win would have left City just 2 points from safety, and although they held out until the 88th minute, Lukaku finally managed to get an effort on target.  Atsu delivered a pinpoint cross from the left and Lukaku’s diving header beat Schwarzer, possibly via Upson’s head.

The gap to safety was instantly doubled to four points and although City desperately sought a late winner they had to be content with a point.
Although we might have settled for that before the game, it felt like a defeat.

Everton: Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Lukaku, Naismith (Miralles 85), McCarthy, Besic (Atsu 55), Barkley (Gibson 55), Coleman, Lennon, Stones. Subs Not Used: Robles, Kone, Garbutt, Alcaraz.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Konchesky, Morgan, Upson, James, Huth, Schlupp (Vardy 62), Simpson, Cambiasso (King 86), Mahrez (Nugent 62), Kramarić. Subs Not Used: Drinkwater, Hamer, Ulloa, Wasilewski.
Referee: P Dowd. Attendance: 38,904.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester dumped out of the FA Cup at Villa

Aston Villa 2:1 Leicester City

2014-15 villa cup away a

City’s bowed out of the FA Cup at Villa Park on Sunday with a poor performance in front of 6,500 travelling fans…

Nigel Pearson made one change to the side that played at Arsenal, with Wasilewski in for the cup-tied Huth, so a five-man defence lined up against a very goal-shy Villa side.
Villa got off to a better start, with new boss Tim Sherwood sat in the stands and featuring regularly on the big screens, though Weimann sent their best chance sailing over the bar.
City then went close from a James corner, Wasilewski’s glancing header had Given beaten but brushed the right hand post.
In a half of few chances City’s next came on the half hour when a Cambiasso dummy made space for James to fire in a vicious shot that Given did very well to get his fingertips to, sending the ball inches wide.
Benteke got the ball into City’s net just before the break but Villa celebrations were halted by an offside flag and the sides went in goalless after a half that wouldn’t have gripped the nation.

Attacking the Holte End, and having had their first half-time team talk from Sherwood, Villa looked more likely to open the scoring, especially as City were having terrible trouble retaining possession. Delph sent a header over the bar and then Schwarzer smothered a Benteke effort.
Delph then sent a shot from a free-kick wide.
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Nigel Pearson made a change on 65 minutes, bringing Ulloa on for Wasilewski, but just three minutes later Villa took the lead.
Bacuna cut in from the left and delivered a fine shot beyond Schwarzer and into the far corner to break the deadlock and delight the home fans.
It could have been 2-0 soon afterwards, but Upson put in a fine last-ditch challenge to prevent Benteke from adding to the scoreline.
City best chance of a reply came when an Ulloa effort was saved by Given, who then blocked Kramarić’s follow-up. A few attacks were mounted to no great effect as City by now looked very ponderous and disjointed.
Villa added a second as the clock reached 90. Morgan failed to cut out the ball over the top and substitute Sinclair sealed the home side’s place in the quarter-finals after a Schwarzer fumble.

2014-15 villa cup away b
Somewhat perversely, as soon as the game was beyond them City found the net at last. Kramarić sent an outstanding header past Given from a Schlupp cross to give City’s huge following something to cheer, but it was too late to make a difference.

The final whistle was heralded with chants of: “What a load of rubbish!” from an extremely disenchanted away crowd.
Being able to ‘concentrate on the league’ won’t fill anyone with any joy…

Villa: Given, Hutton, Cissokho, Clark, Vlaar, Bacuna (Sinclair 77), Cleverley, Westwood, Delph, Weimann (Grealish 83), Benteke. Subs Not Used: Guzan, Okore, Cole, Sanchez, Lowton, Grealish.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Wasilewski (Ulloa 65), Morgan, Upson, Konchesky, Mahrez, Cambiasso, James, Schlupp, Kramarić. Subs Not Used: Hammond, Vardy, King, Albrighton, Hamer, Moore.
Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 28,098.

All Photos: SIMON KIMBER

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Plaudits, but no points, for Leicester at the Emirates

Arsenal 2:1 Leicester City

2014-15 arsenal away

A spirited second half performance was not enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat for City at the Emirates on Tuesday night…

Nigel Pearson made three changes to his starting XI with Huth and Upson making their debuts alongside Morgan in a three-man central defence, and Kramarić making his first full league appearance; Wasilewski, Ulloa and Nugent making way.
City adopted an up and at ‘em approach from the start in a fixture they hadn’t won since the days of Jimmy Bloomfield.
Mahrez saw his shot deflected wide, and then James’ half-volley was blocked by Bellerin.  Mahrez then went agonisingly close when his shot went through Ospina’s legs but just wide of the far post.
Arsenal then began to gain some ground and Walcott should have put the Gunners ahead when he broke clear on goal but Schwarzer pulled off a fine block.
Schwarzer then produced another save to deny Ozil but Arsenal took a 27th minute lead from the corner. From Ozil’s flag-kick Koscielny left Morgan standing as he raced to the near post for a neat finish.
Although City continued to press forward they wen tin at the break 2-0 down. Ozil’s 25-yard effort was parried by Schwarzer, but only into the path of Walcott, who fired the ball home.

Just before the hour Upson had to limp out of the action, replaced by Wasilewski, and City struck back a couple of minutes later.
After some great battling from Cambiasso on the right, the ball was worked out to Kramarić 18 yards out, who arrowed home his first goal for City.
City were the better side at this stage, but Mahrez sent a curling effort narrowly off target and then Kramarić elected to try and lob Ospina when clean through but delivered the ball straight into the keeper’s grasp.
With Ulloa and Nugent on for Morgan and Schlupp City desperately sought an equaliser, but they were contained by Arsenal’s defence and ended up with nothing to show for their considerable efforts.

The gap to safety extended to 5 points with a tough looking schedule coming up. Hopefully the FA Cup will offer some cheer on Sunday.

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Rosicky, Walcott (Ramsey 73 (Flamini 85)), Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez (Giroud 67). Subs Not Used: Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Welbeck.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Huth, Morgan (Ulloa 80), Upson (Wasilewski 59), Konchesky, Mahrez, Cambiasso, James, Schlupp (Nugent 85), Kramarić. Subs Not Used: Drinkwater, King, Albrighton, Hamer.

Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 60,032.  

Photo: Paul Coulson.

 

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Leicester losing their grip on the Premier League

Leicester City 0:1 Crystal Palace

2014-15 crystal palace home c

City lost another home game, while manager Nigel Pearson appeared to lose the plot at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon…

Pearson made five changes to the side that lost at Old Trafford with Mahrez returning from Africa, James returning from suspension, and Paul Konchesky, Nugent and Cambiasso regaining their starting places.
The visitors had the best of the opening quarter of an hour with Zaha and Puncheon looking lively, but City gradually gained the ascendancy. However, efforts on goal from Nugent, Schlupp, Morgan and Mahrez were either blocked, or comfortably fielded by Eagles keeper Speroni.
City’s best chance arrived in the 27th minute when Nugent got his head to a Mahrez corner, but struck the woodwork.
Soon after this Speroni produced a fine save to block a well-struck Schlupp half-volley from close in.

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In a tight game that neither side could afford to lose, the first goal was always going to be hugely important, and it was Palace who went ahead ten minutes into the second half. Hangeland was not closely marked enough at a corner and his far post header fell nicely for Ledley to bundle past Schwarzer from close in, to the delight of the big Palace following.

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City then wasted a golden opportunity for an instant equaliser.  Nugent latched on to a wayward Ledley back pass and rounded  Speroni before hesitating until the angle was too narrow. He squared to Cambiasso, who then tried to find Ulloa before a defender intercepted the pass.
Soon after Mahrez delivered a ball across the goal-mouth, but no one was there to apply a finishing touch.
Albrighton came on for Schlupp in the 66 minute, and sent over three good quality crosses from the right in a matter of minutes, but City had no presence in the danger area.
Puncheon went close with a long-range effort, but Palace were more interested in defending the points.
The introduction of Kramarić and Vardy livened things up a bit.  Vardy’s flick from a Mahrez’s free kick brought a save from Speroni, and there were loud appeals for a penalty when Kramarić was shoved over in the area by Kelly, but it appears that we do not get awarded penalties in this division.
City’s last chance of the game saw a fierce shot from Vardy blocked by a fine Speroni save, and a third league defeat in a row saw the threat of relegation grow yet larger.

The headlines, however, would be concentrating on a bizarre incident late in the game when McArthur was tripped and ended up colliding with Pearson in the technical area.  The following exchange seemed to veer between jokey and menacing, as Pearson wrapped his hands round the grounded players neck, before helping him up. Words were then exchanged and the fourth official had to physically intervene to loosen Pearson’s grip on the Palace player’s sleeve.

By Sunday evening Sky News was reporting that Pearson has been sacked, while other news sources claimed that he had walked.
Some four hours later Sky performed a u-turn and said he was still Leicester City manager, and then an official club statement read:

“Contrary to media speculation on Sunday evening, Nigel remains the Club’s First Team Manager. Reports to the contrary are inaccurate and without foundation. Nigel, his staff and the first team squad are entirely focused on Tuesday night’s trip to Arsenal and our continued efforts to secure our position in the Barclays Premier League.”
Still… it’s never dull, is it?

Leicester: Schwarzer, Konchesky, Morgan, James, Schlupp (Albrighton 66), Simpson (Vardy 79), Cambiasso, Ulloa, Mahrez, Wasilewski, Nugent (Kramarić 71). Subs Not Used: De Laet, Drinkwater, King, Hamer.
Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann (Hangeland 46), Zaha, Gayle (Guedioura 78), McArthur, Mutch (Sanogo 46), Delaney, Ledley, Kelly, Puncheon. Subs Not Used: Mariappa, Campbell, Hennessey, Murray.

Referee: L Mason. Attendance: 31,695.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

 

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Reports of Nigel Pearson’s sacking gaining momentum

Sky News are reporting that Nigel Pearson has been sacked from his position as Leicester City manager…

pearson sacked

This comes the day after Leicester lost a game they could not afford to lose, at home to Crystal Palace, which also saw Pearson involved in a bizarre incident with Palace player James McArthur which has been broadcast around the world.

Leicester City are currently bottom of the Premier League.

 

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Leicester brushed aside at Old Trafford

Manchester United 3:1 Leicester City

2014-15 man utd away a

City were beaten by half time by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday…

Nigel Pearson made one change to his side with Wasilewski in for Moore, while Upson made his first appearance on the bench.
City looked reasonably comfortable against the formidable threat of Di Maria, Falcao and Van Persie during the early stages; but possession was hard to come by and a Schlupp effort from the left after a defensive error was a rare chance.
United got a lucky break in the 27th minute which led to their opener. With Kramarić dithering in midfield, Blind nipped in and delivered a precise ball forward to Van Persie, who looked to be half a yard offside before giving Schwarzer no chance with a crisp finish.
Five minutes later the game was all but up for City as United went further ahead.
A Van Persie pass unzipped City’s defence down the left and Di Maria honed in on goal firing a shot at Schwarzer, who palmed it to Falcao for a finish that Wasilewski couldn’t quite prevent.
Just before half-time the destiny of the points was sealed  when Morgan nodded a Rooney corner past Schwarzer to put the cap on a miserable 20 minutes for City.

The second half saw Cambiasso on for Vardy, in a more balanced line-up, and an improvement for City against a side no longer urgently pressing forward. Kramarić tried a very ambitious over-head effort that didn’t trouble De Gea.
Januzaj sent one just over the bar for United, while at the other end Ulloa going down in the area failed to get a response from the ref.
Pearson then brought Albrighton and Nugent on for Kramarić and Ulloa and it was Albrighton who delivered a perfect cross from the right for Wasilewski to nod past De Gea for his first City goal.
Any thoughts of a comeback soon passed as Albrighton fired a volley over the bar.

It was a day when City hadn’t done themselves justice, though results elsewhere meant that they didn’t lose any ground.

United: De Gea, Shaw, Jones, Rojo, Di Maria, Falcao (Wilson 80), Rooney, Januzaj, Blind, Van Persie (McNair 68), Valencia (Mata 77). Subs Not Used: Smalling, Herrera, Fellaini, Valdes.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Wasilewski, Morgan, De Laet, Drinkwater, King, Vardy (Cambiasso 46), Kramarić (Albrighton 62), Schlupp, Ulloa (Nugent 62). Subs Not Used: Konchesky, Upson, Hammond, Hamer.
Referee: M Atkinson. Attendance: 75,329. 

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Leicester go marching on with late show at Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur 1:2 Leicester City

2014-15 spurs cup away a

City left it late at White Hart Lane on Saturday but goals from Ulloa and Schlupp dumped Tottenham out of the Cup and booked a place in the last sixteen…

Nigel Pearson made five changes to his starting line-up, with Kramarić making his full debut, Schwarzer breaking the club record for  oldest-ever player, Moore, De Laet and Ulloa in for Nugent, Hamer, Konchesky, Wasilewski and Knockaert.
Although it was Spurs who dominated the early possession in a slow start to the game, it was City who notched the first real chance.
A good run and cross from Schlupp on the left was met by Kramarić’s left foot, but Vorm pulled off a fantastic save to deny the Croatian his first goal for his new club.
Although Paulinho fired a volley narrowly over the bar for the home side, City soon carved out another chance. The centre of the Tottenham’s defence seemed to open up in the face of strong running from the lively Schlupp though his shot was placed too close to Vorm, who pulled off another fine save.

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However, it was Spurs who took a 19th minute lead via the penalty spot. Moore was struggling from an earlier knock when he caught  Soldado on the ankle and Townsend did a tidy job, beating Schwarzer from 12 yards.
Moore then completed his short and miserable afternoon, being booked for a foul on Soldado before being replaced by Wasilewski .
City then had a huge penalty shout of their own  when Kramarić raced onto a Drinkwater through ball, and rounded Vorm before appearing to be clipped by the keeper, nowhere near the ball.  There were howls of disapproval in the away end as referee Robert Madley booked him for diving.

Tottenham should have gone 2-0 up early in the second half when a jinking run down the right from Lamela teed up Paulinho but he fired wide of the right hand post from close in.
At the other hand Ulloa wasted a chance, misdirecting a header with the goal at his mercy.
Wasilewski also headed straight at Vorm from a corner, before Pearson made his changes with 20 minutes to go – Nugent and Albrighton coming on for Vardy and Kramarić.
Schwarzer kept City in the tie with a brilliant full-length save from Lamela, before the late drama unfolded.
With eight minutes left Schlupp attempted a shot which was heading off target before Ulloa skillfully controlled it and found the bottom right hand corner to send the away end mad.

2014-15 spurs cup away b

Before thoughts of a replay had time to sink in, City then booked a place in the 5th round, as the game entered time added on.
Great work from Simpson down the right ended with a cross for Schlupp whose acrobatic flick somehow squirmed past Vorm on the line and into the net, sparking off even more manic celebrations in the blue corner.

Not only had City made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup, but they had shown more signs that they could be good enough to survive in the Premier League.

Tottenham: Vorm, Chiriches, Fazio, Kaboul, Rose; Capoue, Dembele (Kane 86); Townsend (Eriksen 63), Paulinho, Lamela; Soldado (Adebayor 69). Subs Not Used: Friedel, Davies, Dier, Stambouli.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Morgan, Moore (Wasilewski 25), De Laet, Drinkwater, King, Vardy (Albrighton 71), Kramarić (Nugent 71), Ulloa. Subs Not Used: Koncheksy, Hamer, Cambiasso, Knockaert.
Referee: R Madley. Attendance: 35,548
ALL PHOTOS: Alan Franklin

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